Pamela Love Rituals - Georgia Hilmer

Georgia Hilmer is a self-described "23-year-old model-photographer-student-woman" living in Brooklyn and studying the politics of narrative at NYU.  She knows more than a little about a whole lot and shares that wealth of insight, her favorite Pamela Love pieces and her daily self -care Routine here on the P.L. blog. All photographed by Georgia in Upstate New York.


I’ve been modeling for years, doing the full high fashion runway circuit until just recently. Now I am transitioning into a lighter workload, focusing on projects closer to home, both emotionally and geographically, so that I can devote myself to school. My boyfriend and I spend a lot of time in upstate New York at a cabin he owns. We have been building and working the land together; I am in charge of a sprawling vegetable garden. Being up there, a little wild, just beyond the reaches of a steady wifi connection, has been so special. I am learning so much: how to be brave, how to get dirty, how to slow down and go hard all at the same time.

I’ve always had a camera on me: in high school, I had one of those Fuji Instax Polaroid knock-offs. An ex-boyfriend gave me my first 35mm point and shoot when I was 19, and my instincts and interests in photography and art exploded that year. Modeling, which I pursued for its promise of travel and as a means of funding college, put me in front of a lot of creative types who responded to the film and phone photos I put on the internet. Job offers came in naturally after I became visible as a modern hyphenate — a “model-photographer” — and I’ve been nurturing a fledgling “career” ever since. 

I firmly believe that being a woman behind the camera gives me special access to and empathy for my subjects. I understand notions of the male gaze and objectification viscerally, having been a model for so long. So many years in the fashion world has made me allergic to artifice in my pictures; I am most curious about the person before me, who they are, what they like, how they want to be depicted. I think it’s my vulnerability in that sense, my yielding to the person before me, that makes my photographs distinct. I don’t want to create another image put into the world to sell or to instruct. I want to approach some semblance of truth by bearing witness.

When I’m in the city, self-care is about waking up slow (hard to do with a phone as my alarm, easy to do with my boyfriend close by for hugging and snuggling). I resist the rush of it all as best I can, but that can be hard. I try to get to yoga (at this studio called Sky Ting in Chinatown run by the sweetest friends of mine) or play soccer (I’m on a co-ed team in Brooklyn). When I get freaked out I make an effort to read, usually a slow-burning piece from the New Yorker that can distract and diffuse.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 14 years, and the physical demands of modeling (traveling, keeping skin clear and your body fit) have made me attentive to food and nutrition. I love reading about food politics and culture: Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, Tamar Adler, Tejal Rao and Ligaya Mishan. In the city, we eat out a lot but also host big, 20-person dinner parties at our place. I like cooking for a lot of people at once. Upstate there are no restaurants for miles, so we feed ourselves nearly every meal. I love the rhythms of cooking up there: what’s good at the farm stand or grocery dictates what we eat, I can cook everything outside on the grill. This summer my favorite rituals are baking bread on the grill every few days, making big salads from the garden, using herbs we’ve grown ourselves and trading our neighbors for fruit to put in pies.

Upstate everything feels more effortless. I usually wake up with no sense of anxiety. I have coffee with my boyfriend on the porch, and then we ease into the day naturally, by looking around and asking what needs to be done in the yard, or what we’d like to accomplish that day. Jumping in the pond when it’s hot and taking outdoor showers at the end of a long day are sweet moments to focus on the physical body I lose sight of in my modern neuroses.

I’m pretty low maintenance. Getting a good sweat going feels important to me, be that on my bike or playing soccer in the city, or mowing the lawn and rebuilding rock walls upstate. I love a dry scrub before I shower, that raw, clean feeling makes me feel instantly refreshed and reenergized. That purge feels like the healthiest way to get my blood flowing and move toxins out of my body. 

Healthcare and self-care are so personal; my strategies involve not self-diagnosing on Google and sending myself into a Web MD panic, taking Wellness Vitamins when my boyfriend hands them to me, listening to my stomach by trying to satisfy cravings and not eat super emotionally and lighting incense in the house, purely for the smell. Most important to me is making an effort to slow down, if I can catch myself in a bad mood or an anxiety spiral before I go too far, by talking to a friend or sitting still for ten minutes, I save myself a lot of trouble.

Walk us through your morning and evening routine and the products you find essential.
First thing: Check the time, if it’s too early, try to fall back asleep, if it’s a reasonable hour, do the NY Times crossword on my phone.

Morning skin care routine: Rinse my face with water, wash it with this Andalou Naturals coconut cleanser I found at Whole Foods. Sometimes I put on Glossier moisturizer if I have it around, mostly I skip it. Then I take folic acid and put on sunscreen (whatever’s nearby, usually Neutrogena)

Midday: Try to remember to drink water, mostly default to Seltzer.

Evening skincare: I use that Andalou Naturals coconut cleanser again and brush my teeth with Tom’s. A friend gave me this Kate Somerville exfoliating mask, which I’ve been using a few times a week to really get my face scrubbed. In the shower, I use Dove body wash because of skin sensitivity and sometimes Dr. Bronner’s lavender body wash if I’m feeling wild. Shampoo is whatever my boyfriend is using (Aesop anise-scented these days) or the ends of random travel-size bottles I steal from hotels when I travel.

Last thing before sleep: Talk to my boyfriend about what we want to do the next day, what work needs to happen on the house, what we saw and loved outside, whether it’s going to rain tomorrow, how good dinner was

What your top three favorite products from the Pamela Love Apothecary? 

The Earth Tu Face Salt Scrub for exfoliating, I love that feeling of scrubbing and scraping yourself to brand new skin. 

The Hamadi Shea Spray for someone as hair-illiterate as me. It would be the one product I could handle that would make my just-rolled-out-of-bed-head look more intentional than forgetful.

The Mun Travel Set for shuttling back and forth from the city to the cabin. The packaging is beautiful, which I always appreciate.

Shot by Georgia Hilmer.

Shop Georgia's favorites here.

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